DEPRESSION & DATING: HOW TO COPE DURING A BREAKUP (PT 2)

In the first part of this series, we established the fact that breakups can have a triggering effect on people who are coping with depression and if not well-managed can have a long-lasting effect on their mental health well-being.

In this post, I’ll continue with a few more tips on how to deal with a breakup while coping with depression. Remember breakups like any sudden/unexpected occurrence in life is HARD and it is okay to feel a certain way, so do not be afraid/ashamed to own up to needing help or feeling inadequate.

  1. Give yourself permission. This might sound extra but you need to permit yourself to operate at a level you may not be used to for a while, this is not you wallowing in your situation but mentally giving yourself the required space and time needed to process, evaluate, strategize and in turn, make the best of the situation. For a while, you may not be as efficient with work or relate with other people as you’re used to and that’s okay. P.S if Superman can fly to the Fortress of Solitude to re-energize, strategize or whatever other things he needs to do when he’s feeling down and trust me you can do it! Chant to yourself “If SUPERMAN feels this way, I can too” 
  2. Know the ultimate goal. There are spoken and unspoken goals for most situations in life and a breakup is not exclusive of this. The goal for a breakup is MOVING ON. The word “moving on” can be a trigger for someone going through a breakup but for the progress of your mental health, you have to bear in mind you need to eventually move on from this place of pain, confusion, anger and/or sadness. As I mentioned in the last post, expressing how you feel will un-shackle and free you from negative feelings. Do not get stuck in the blame game, hold on to resentment, anger etc. as this will drain you and in turn stop your healing process and ability to move forward. P.S Moving on is a sign of personal growth so do not be afraid to grow.
  3. Do not rush into forced friendships. Sometimes, people become pressured to act a certain way to/around their partner i.e. be the bigger person, do not be petty (I think a teeny-weeny pettiness never hurt anyone but let’s ignore me) or automatically be friends with your partner even after a breakup. Please do not succumb to such nonsensical pressures, you are not under any obligation to be friends with your former partner irrespective of how the relationship ended (amicably or otherwise). Many people in the spirit of showing that they have moved on, rush into the “look we’re friends” stage, get burnt and have to start the healing process all over again, leave friendship until you are completely over them. This was something I used to do, for some reason stopped and I have recently to do it again as I was not as “over him” as I thought to myself, I felt like violently shaking him (I know I have issues) every time we were talking as friends, so I cut him off completely. Trust me, it is not an easy task especially when you had a ‘great love”. If you’re thinking of being friends with your partner, you have to fully ensure that you’re healed and cannot be triggered by them. P.S it is perfectly alright if you do not remain, friends, so please do not put yourself under pressure to be especially if it was an unhealthy relationship. You being friends is not a sign of you moving on/healed. 
  4. Your future is bright. In the heat of love, plans are made; commitment to each other, mutual sharing of hopes and dreams, mental pictures of a future together etc. and when a breakup happens, a level of uncertainty can creep up on you when you think about your future, it may also be hard to let go of these aforementioned plans and/or ambitions. It might be daunting realizing that the prospects of achieving certain things with your partner may be out the proverbial window but it doesn’t mean that you cannot dream again, allow your mind roam free with thoughts of new possibilities, hopes, and dreams and eventually these thoughts will replace the old ones. So please don’t for a second doubt the greatness of your future as a partner in a loving, healthy and committed relationship.
  5. Don’t go through this alone. As I mentioned in the last post, talking about how you feel is a great way of coping, it’s even better when it is done with trusted family/friends. Bottling up how you feel can raise your stress levels, get in the way of work, reduce your concentration and affect your health in general. Please, you do not have to go through this alone, surround yourself with positive people who are great for your mental well-being, if you’re having a rough day/week, call up a friend, have tea together (or any beverage of our choice), do anything but let those days overwhelm and envelope you. Also, make conscious efforts to avoid negative people who may judge or nitpick how you’re feeling as this can worsen your depression and make it harder for you to heal.

Finally, as with everything in life, we must try to extract important lessons from a breakup. I know this may not be what you want to hear when in pain and barely trying to hold on but to grow and constantly improve as a person, we must always be able to sift through life occurrences and find lessons. This can be a difficult task to accomplish when going through a breakup but trust me, those lessons will enrich your life in the future and you will come out of this with a better understanding of yourself as well.

To fully achieve this, you must be able to analyze what happened as well as your part in the whole experience, you must also be willing to ask yourself hard-hitting questions and try to understand how your choices/decisions affected the relationship. This is not a time for apportioning blame or beating yourself up but an opportunity to learn more about yourself, how you interact with people in relationship scenarios and the problems you may need to work on. If you are able to scrutinize your choices and behavior without bias (for example the reasons for choosing your former partner etc.) you will be able to understand and learn from your mistakes emerge a better person and partner in any future relationship.

That’s it, beautiful people, I hope this mini-series has been helpful, as usual, let me you’re your thoughts in the comment section. I feel I also have to mention that I am definitely not perfect and have totally ignored all of these tips at one point or the other in my history of breakups, so do not even feel pressured by these tips shared, make progress at your own pace, the important thing should be that you are making progress.

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